2. Take 10 to be zen
When we’re stressed about something (such as COVID-19), our thoughts tend to speed up. Taking 10 minutes or so to practise mindfulness can help produce a sense of calmness. If you don’t get what mindfulness is all about, check out this WTF is mindfulness meditation. other questions, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
Here are some suggestions for free mindfulness apps to try:
- Insight Timer has over 25,000 free guided meditations, from 1 to 90+ minutes. Try searching by a topic that interests you (e.g. stress, learning to meditate, sleep).
- Smiling Mind might be a good option if you don’t want to be overwhelmed by choice. The meditations are organised by structured programs, such as Mindful Foundations, Sleep, Relationships, etc.
- If meditation isn’t for you, try doing an everyday activity in a mindful way – in other words, put aside distractions and focus fully on one small task. For example, while you’re having a cup of tea, pay attention to your senses (the smell of the tea, the warmth of the cup in your hand, the taste…).
3. Chat with your mates
Even if an in-person meet-up is off the table, try to stay in touch with your mates via text, Messenger, WhatsApp, FaceTime, or (gasp!) a good old-fashioned phone call. Ask them how they’re feeling and share your own experience if you feel safe to do so.
Check out this article on 5 steps to talking to someone you trust. You could even start a group chat where each person shares one good thing that happened in their day.
4. Check out forums
If you’re feeling (or literally are) isolated, jump on to the Reach Out online forums. ReachOut Forums are a safe, supportive and anonymous space where you can chat to other young people. If you’re struggling, check out the thread Today I am having a tough time because… Or share what you’re doing for self-care in the thread Today I practiced self care by...
5. Make a homemade meal
Good nutrition is always important, but during stressful times there’s nothing better than a tasty, healthy homemade meal – especially if you made it yourself. You could ask a friend or family member for their fave recipe, or check out Taste’s easy recipes section. See this article on how to make healthy food choices for some tips.
6. Take a break from the news
It’s important to stay informed, but try to limit your media intake to a couple of times a day and use trusted news sources. If you catch yourself turning to social media because you’re feeling isolated, take a break and spend time on another activity, such as those we’ve suggested here.
7. Make a music playlist
Music can make us feel so much better. Hop on Spotify and make a playlist with your fave songs. You could make a group playlist and ask your friends to add five of their favourite songs as well. If you want to get fancy, you could make several playlists for different moods/vibes (e.g. rainy day, feeling happy, etc.).
8. Declutter for five minutes
If you’re suddenly spending a lot more time at home, it can help to have an environment that feels good to you. Instead of getting all Marie Kondo and trying to overhaul your whole space in a day, try decluttering for five mins a day. Pick a shelf to start with or pick up five things and find a home for them. For more five-minute decluttering tips, check out this article.
9. Watch or read something uplifting
Distraction can be a good thing. Watch something that you find uplifting and allow yourself to zone out from what’s going on in the world. Some suggestions include The Good Place and Brooklyn 99 on Netflix, or The Bold Type and Family Guy on Stan.
YouTube is a great option too, plus we’ve put together this collection of different relaxing videos that are sure to help you chill out. If reading is more your thing, go to your bookshelf and choose an old favourite or something you’ve been meaning to get to for a while, or if you don’t have physical books then e-books are a great option.
10. Learn something new
Have you wanted to get into drawing or learning a musical instrument? Now’s a great time to make a start. If you want to learn a new language, Duolingo is an awesome free language learning program you can access from your computer or phone. YouTube has great free online tutorials for pretty much everything.
If it’s all getting a bit much…
Sometimes things can get overwhelming, even if you’ve been practising self-care. As most people will be physically distancing or self-isolating a great option is telephone and online services. Lifeline (13 11 14) and Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) can be accessed for phone and online counselling, with Lifeline phone counsellors on call from 7pm to midnight, and Kids Helpline available 24/7. Eheadspace also offers free online and telephone support and counselling.
If it’s available to you, you could consider seeing your GP or mental health professional for extra help (but make sure to follow the advice of Healthdirect if you’re showing symptoms or are in self-isolation). You could also ask your mental health professional if they could chat over Skype/FaceTime if you’re in self-isolation.
You can also head to the ReachOut Forums to connect with other young people online.
We’ve borrowed this content from ReachOut – Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people and their parents – with their permission. View the original article. Check out more of their full range of practical support, tools and tips at ReachOut.com and ReachOut.com/Parents.